Please end the quagmire in Iraq
As 2007 gets under way, President Bush has decided to no longer “stay the course,” but is calling for a “New Way Forward” in Iraq, demanding we send additional sons and daughters to fight for democracy in the Middle East. And he is telling us this fourth insurgence of U.S. military force will succeed. Why should I believe him now?This human and economic quagmire needs to end. If it were truly a battle worth fighting, we would not be there alone. No other country is sending in troops. In fact, Tony Blair will begin to withdraw British troops as planned this year. American soldiers will stand alone in this affair, in the middle of a hornet’s nest. Don’t throw more bodies at this situation, especially if our soldiers are not fully trained, or on their second or third tour of duty with little or no respite. The human cost to our country and to Iraq is too great.What I know: 1) The Iraq war has been mishandled. There was no strategy – in or out; 2) Thousands have been killed on both sides; 3) Billions of U.S. dollars have been squandered by a foreign government with no accountability; 4) U.S. national defense services, both abroad and at home, have been weakened by this ordeal; 5) Intellects, military brass, politicians, and ordinary people all over the world understand that this “way” is not the best way forward. The U.S. could spend our dollars in numerous other ways that will provide a better return on our investment.There is no doubt in my mind if America was under siege or needed to legitimately defend a desired democracy, we would all enlist and fight to the end – it’s who we are. However, Iraq did not request our presence. What Iraq needs now is diplomacy, not more force. We could withdraw our soldiers, slowly, methodically, humanely. Our troops could be augmented by other countries that send in “peace-keeping” units until a more stable Iraq government is in place and civil fighting has subsided. Uniting the world in peace efforts would allow the United States to be viewed as a world leader again, versus a forceful tyranny.In 2003, America was at a critical crossroads. A choice was made to invade a country and no one educated themselves as to the “Why?” and “What for?” Now we are at another pivotal moment in our history, risking more lives, our reputation and our future.I am wide awake now. My daughter will be deployed this year. She will go where she is sent in whatever manner she is requested. She is a soldier and that’s what soldiers do. I support her. However, I would rather her go to this country in a peace-keeping role, because it saddens me to think the light in her eyes will be diminished by individuals who don’t want her presence.Please be awake. Please pay attention. Please call President Bush at (202) 456-1111, and contact our Colorado representatives Ken Salazar, at (202) 224-5852, and Wayne Allard, at (202) 224-5941. Tell them this “new way” is not our way. Ask them to craft another way that maximizes diplomacy and minimizes deaths. Tell them we care about the human aspect of this war.Speak from your heart and please pray we unite in peace.”Do not conquer the world with force, for force only causes resistance. Thorns spring up when an army passes. Years of misery follow a great victory. Do only what needs to be done without using violence.” – Tao Te ChingCharmaine Boudreaux is a resident of Glenwood Springs. Editor’s note: Soapbox runs weekly on the Sunday opinion page. This spot is a forum for valley residents to comment on local topics. If you’d like to contribute, contact Naomi Havlen at The Aspen Times at 925-3414, extension 17624 or e-mail email@example.com.